The Himba are an indigenous people living in the bush in northern Namibia. They pride themselves on remaining true to their traditions and culture, and maintain a strong sense of tribal identity. Visiting the remote villages outside of Opuwo, in northern Namibia, we feel as though we are in one of the last places on earth untouched by western society.

But as we look closer, we will find technology has found its way into pockets of Himba society. But, whereas the rest of the world has become increasingly disengaged from each other through electronic media, the Himba use technology in curious ways to help bring their communities closer together.

These photographs show Himba communities enjoying their traditional way of life: women prepare ochre to rub on their bodies as a beauty and cleansing ritual; villagers prepare milk in a dried calabash; and children help to fetch food rations. But they also show the curious and unifying way technology can bring people together: a child dances to music playing on a radio in a village without electricity; a woman uses a mobile phone to communicate with her cousin in a neighboring town about food rations; and children marvel at an iPad I brought in from New York.

A Himba girl poses for a portrait at her village, on the outskirts of Opuwo.

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A Himba girl works to crush red ochre into a fine powder, which will be mixed with butter. The paste is worn by the women in her village, and serves both as a beauty treatment and skin protection from the harsh sun.

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A Himba girl grinds red ochre.

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A Himba woman shakes a dried calabash filled with milk to make butter. The butter will be used to mix with the red ochre to create the paste women apply to their bodies and hair. The butter-making process can take several hours.

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A Himba woman rubs a red ochre paste on her skin as a daily beauty ritual. The ochre helps keep the skin clean and protect against the harsh Namibian sun.

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A child sits by the fire in his mother's hut at daybreak. 


Many children suffer facial burns from such fires.

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An aromatic fire burns in a Himba woman's hut. She uses the smoke to cleanse and perfume her skin in a daily ritual. Due to water scarcity, the Himba never traditionally bathe.

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Freshly covered in red ochre, a mother watches over her children at daybreak.

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The white necklace and dual hair plait symbolize femininity in young girls. Young boys have either shaved heads or a single hair plait. Both males and females wear necklaces, for a bare neck is an affront to their fathers.

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A Himba girl leads the way as she and several female villagers travel to their corn and watermelon field to gather food for the community.

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A Himba woman speaks to a cousin in a neighboring village to inquire about their food supply.

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Mothers carry their children from the corn field back to their village.

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Three children fetch water for their village near Epupa Falls, near the Angolan/Namibian border

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A woman sits atop a communal water tank to retrieve water for her village.

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A Himba boy dances to a song on the radio. There is no electricity in this village: the radio wires were spliced and fixed in such a way that it would run off of solar power.

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A Himba girl and her family view photographs from New York City on an iPad for the first time.

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After tending to the cattle, the Himba men sit by the fire and await their meals, which are cooked by the women.

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A Himba girl tends to her village's shebeen on the outskirts of Opuwo. She is one of the few in her village who attends school.

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Himba children hang around the shebeen outside their remote village near Opuwo. The children, who attend school, are on a one-month holiday in between semesters.

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A Himba boy outside of the shebeen.

Many native children who have the opportunity to attend school find it difficult to afford the necessary clothing. Tribal groups, such as the Himba and the San communities, are often ill-equipped to attend, and feel a sense of shame and embarrassment at the poor quality of their clothing in comparison to some of their peers.

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Himba children fetch palm fruit from trees near the Angolan/Namibian border.

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Children play with a toy in their village near Opuwo at daybreak.

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